Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Pumpkin and Black Bean Soup

Recently I whipped up a batch of Rachel Ray's Pumpkin and Black Bean Soup. It is really simple to pull together and is super delicious.

I didn't deviate much from the original recipe, but I did make a swap to lower the fat content and used lower-sodium (ie salt) options where I could. 

Here is what I used;

Pumpkin and Black Bean Soup

  • 2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 turn of the pan
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cups canned or packaged low-sodium vegetable stock, found on soup aisle
  • 1 can (14 1/2 ounces) low-sodium diced tomatoes in juice
  • 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, drained and rinsed (lowers sodium)
  • 2 cans (15 ounces) pumpkin puree (found often on the baking aisle)
  • 1 can (12 ounces) evaporated low-fat milk
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder, 1 palm full
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin, 1/2 palm full
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, eyeball it in the palm of your hand
  • Coarse salt
  • 20 blades fresh chives, chopped or snipped, for garnish

Directions

  • Heat a soup pot over medium heat. Add oil. When oil is hot, add onion. Saute onions 5 minutes.
  • Add broth, tomatoes, black beans and pumpkin puree. Stir to combine ingredients and bring soup to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to medium low and stir in cream, curry, cumin, cayenne and salt, to taste.
  • Simmer 5 minutes, adjust seasonings and serve garnished with chopped chives.

The original recipe called for 1 cup of heavy cream, and while that version would be delicious, it would also be bad for the waist line! Instead of the cream, I used canned condensed milk; this lends a nice creamy texture, without all of the saturated fat. Another option I've used that works well is the fat-free half and half, found near the milk in the grocery store.

Nutrition note: while it is a good idea to lower saturated fat and trans-fats in recipes for our health, it isn't wise to avoid all fat. Fats play many important roles in our body and they also help with the absoprtion of other nutrients.

In this recipe, the pumpkin is loaded with beta-carotene, a fat soluble provitamin to Vitamin A. This means that our body can convert beta-carotene into vitamin A. However, our body doesn't have access to the beta-carotene unless it has been absorbed. For this reason, I left the olive oil in the soup instead of substituting vegetable spray.

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